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Monday, Monday

If you need crime in the streets of San Francisco, or a sweet cast of dozens from Tales of the City, change the channel. Nothing that interesting happened here today. T'was a mighty mellow Monday. All the drama was interior.

Someone was taking a shower this morning, but besides briefly wondering whether it was a man or a woman, I gave it little thought, as I stepped into the room and dropped trou, settling onto the porcelain to gently grunt for a few minutes. I'd brought the week's AVA, and was somewhere in its early pages when whoever was in the shower came out and dried him or her self and left.

Soon enough someone else came in, and again I wouldn't know who. The stalls have doors, and the people showering almost never say, "Hello, whoever's pooping." I'm pretty much the only one who says that, when I come in for a shower.

The shower started again, and again I briefly wondered who's naked a few steps from me. It's an unpleasant wondering, though, as the gender split in the building is about 95% men, and of the 5% women who live alone here they're all of your grandmother's vintage, same as most of the men.

So I read my paper and did my business, and eventually finished the latter and flushed. That's what polite people do, and i also flush.

As my poop swirled away, there came a startled yelp from the man in the shower, and I realized I'd drawn all the cold water to the toilet, leaving all the hot water in the shower. "Dannit," he shouted.

If intended as a gag it would've been funny, but it wasn't intended as anything but a thoughtless flush, so I shouted, "Sorry, dude," and he laughed. 

As I wiped and powdered my behind, I pondered the Emily Post of it all. What is the polite thing to do in such a situation?

I could've announced my intent to flush before flushing, so anyone in the showers could step to the side or twist the nozzle to the wall.

Or perhaps foregoing the flush is the right thing to do under such circumstances. Unflushing would make the room stink worse and worse as the full bowl simply sits there, but nobody's shower would be uncomfortably interrupted.

I'm still arguing amongst myself between these two options, but when it's decided, my plan is to type and post an official-looking index card in each stall, making my choice seem 'official'. People will follow almost any 'rule' posted almost anywhere.

Her name popped into my mind, so I might ask Emily Post's perspective, before deciding. My almanac says she died in 1960, but I think she's still answering questions. At least, I still see her byline in the paper, so they must've found some other woman to play the part.

♦ ♦ ♦  

This being Monday, I worked my weekly shift at the magazine. In some ways, Black Sheets is like any other office job — the phone rings and I answer it; orders come in the mail and I package them and send them; numbers and names and addresses need to be keyed into databases; there's a filing cabinet where things must be kept alphabetically, so I sing the song from kindergarten to remember whether K comes before J or J before K, and I rarely get the letters wrong.

When the song ends, "Now I know my ABCs, tell me what you think of me," everyone tells me what they think of me, which is rarely flattering and often a laugh. Today's answer involved Steve dumping a bag of popcorn on my head.

Also unlike an ordinary office job, draining and hosing out the hot tub is one of my duties, as is taking out the trash and tidying the beds in the basement, which is called the dungeon for reasons obvious if you've seen it.

A basement is where the lawn mower waits between mows, where washing and drying machines wash and dry, and there's an ironing board, and maybe Dad's tool shop.

A dungeon, or at least ours, has whips on the walls, chains screwed into the ceiling, an iron mask, a rack that rises and falls, futons and mattresses scattered about the floor, jail cells that actually lock, and penis-sized holes between the rooms.

I got curious and stuck my willy through a hole in the dungeon wall once, but I was the only one in the dungeon at 1:15 on a Monday afternoon, so nothing glorious happened.

From Pathetic Life #24
Monday, May 13, 1996

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

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